(V/W)asa: a comparative analysis of the sunken maiden voyage and Sweden’s favorite crisp bread

The Vasa Skepp (sometimes referred to as Wasa in old Swedish), was a Swedish warship that was built in 1626 by the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf and named after his father Gustav Vasa. On her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, the Vasa ship sank off Beckholmen inlet of Stockholm, having sailed less than one nautical mile (2 km). After some early failed attempts to salvage her in the 1600s, the Vasa ship was almost completely forgotten. Later, falling into obscurity after most of the more valuable bronze cannons were salvaged in the 17th century, she was finally relocated again in 1950-1960 and brought to land with a largely intact hull on April 24, 1961. The ship is now one of Sweden’s most popular Tourist Attractions in Stockholm, having an entire museum dedicated to her.

Wasabröd or Wasa* brand crisp bread is the world’s largest producer of the Scandinavian style crisp bread (called knäckebröd in Swedish) and was founded in 1919, opening its first bakery in Skellefteå in Northern Sweden. Since it was created, Wasa* has expanded beyond the Swedish market and was first bought by Sandoz (a Swiss pharmaceutical company) in 1983 and then Barilla (an Italian food company) in 1999. Swedish knäckebröd is often noted to last a long time, with shelf longevity, and to be very healthy (with few ingredients; primarily flour, water, yeast and salt). Wasa* has now expanded its products to cereals, muesli, crackers and other snacks. The Royal family of Sweden has granted the company purveyor, or royal warrant of appointment to indicate the fact that Wasa* supplies, and has the right to advertise the fact, that their crisp bread products are consumed by the royal family. The brand Wasa* originally stood for the one product of “Vasaknäcke” with a picture of King Gustav Vasa and a royal crown indicating the Vasa dynasty. However, the marketing has now expanded (to still use the blue crown on their logo) but to include other products.

So what do these two have in common? The Vasa ship sailed hundreds of years ago and Wasa* crisp bread is a brand of cracker consumed by Swede’s and other Northern Europeaners? True, but what is analogous is that they both represent Sweden and the “Swedish Lifestyle.” The Vasa ship indicates innovation, boldness and gives a glimpse of the Viking history. Wasabröd indicates a healthy life style choice, and sometimes a bland exterior. Both Vasa and Wasa* have become staples for Sweden and remind foreigners of their Northern neighbors; who they are and what they do.



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1 thought on “(V/W)asa: a comparative analysis of the sunken maiden voyage and Sweden’s favorite crisp bread”

  1. Vasa ship is a must-see in Stockholm!! I truly recommand it if you happen to be in town. Beside the ship itself, the exhibition gives an extensive insight on 17th-century Sweden.
    I spent 3 hours there and had not seen and read everything 🙂

    Going round and through the ship is definitely worth the admission fee.

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